Time: 48 hours (over 3 days)
Serves – 12
Cassoulet is a classic recipe that I only make once a year – partly because it takes a good 2 days to make it properly and secondly because then when we do have it, we appreciate it and enjoy it. This makes a big serving. This last time, I split it in two and brought some to my in-laws as we are still being careful during the pandemic. I’ve paired this with another classic – Nina Simone!
Music Selection: Nina Simone – Ne Me Quitte Pas
6 duck legs/breasts
8 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic
2 lbs dried small white beans (cannellini)
8 oz pancetta, in large pieces
2 bay leaves
2 398 ml cans of tomato sauce
6 cups chicken broth
1 lb pork shoulder, cut in 1 inch cubes
¼ cup parsley
1 ring garlic sausage
2 – 3 pork sausages (like toulouse, sweet Italian or unsmoked kielbasa)
Day 1 – At night, place beans in a large bowl and cover with water (at least 3 inches above beans). Let soak all night.
Day 2 – In large pot, fry the pork sausages, until cooked through. Remove from pot and let cool. When cool, cut into tiny pieces. I cut them into ¼ inch rings, then quarter them.
Add to pot, the cut up pancetta and fry until getting crispy. Then add in the cubes of pork shoulder and cook.
Dice up the onion and mince the garlic. Add both to the pot with meat. When the onion is soft, add in ½ of the thyme (I pull it off the stems), bay leaves, parsley, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Add in the cubes of pork sausage.
Drain the beans and add to the pot. Salt/pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Let cook for 1 ½ hours.
In meantime, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add 2 Tbsp water to a baking dish. Place some thyme in water. Place duck legs and breasts with skin side down in water. Salt the tops and lay more thyme on top. Cover with foil. Place a heavy iron cast pan on top. Place in oven and bake for 1 ½ hours.
At this point, remove duck from oven. If you want, you can cut the duck into smaller pieces. Pour the duck oil and drippings into the beans. Mix well.
If you want to split this into smaller containers that can bake in the oven.
Slice up the garlic sausage into thin coins and gently place on top of the beans. Then gently place duck on top with skin side up – salt/pepper. Bake with no cover for another 1 ½ hours.
Remove from oven and let cool. Cover and place in fridge.
Day 3 – About an hour before you want to eat, remove lid and place in 350 deg oven to warm up. You can also at the end turn on the broiler so duck gets crispy skin. Serve with sliced, toasted baguette. Bon appetit!